National World War I Museum

Gold
2008

This museum and memorial honors those who served in World War I. The designers created a fan-like museum plan that radiates out from the memorial's core at its subterranean level. The entryway is a clear glass bridge over a field of poppies, representing the 9,000,000 people who died in the War. A luminous glass wall surrounds and encloses the exhibition hall and two arcs, formed with exhibit cases and artillery, divide the experience physically and symbolically into an east side and a west side. The museum's big guns are placed around the hall as brutal symbols of war but also beautiful examples of industrial design. The memorial creates a vivid portrait of the time and conveys the hard choices and unintended consequences of the war.

"This project makes a distant war immediate by showing us a great irony of all warfare. While its driving forces and official excuses remain the same, the brutal experience of warriors changes drastically with each decade. And those experiences remain the ill-documented, immeasurable collateral damage of every war. Would we go to war if we knew in advance what our soldiers would face? Brilliantly, the designers here have used emotional drama--theatrical lighting, poignant artifacts, plenty of dirt--to elicit the ethical questions we keep forgetting to ask."

Barbara Flanagan, Freelance Journalist / Product Designer, Flanagan LLC

Contact: Cheryl Held: cherylheld@raany.com Credit: Ralph Appelbaum Associates Client: National World War I Museum / Liberty Memorial Association